What is your favourite classical composer?
That question was posed to me over the weekend and somehow it evoked memories of childhood.
I was forever being asked my favourite pop singer [though in those days it wasn’t known as ‘pop’] or my favourite football team.
Whatever answer I gave was the wrong one and I’d get beaten up and jeered at. Because the right answer depended, not only on the questioner but on his mood.
Somehow I had an instinctive knowledge that this was part of the ritual of establishing a pecking order. Like dogs. But they only pissed on me once, when in a moment of panic I replied ‘Millwall’. I hated football and didn’t know one team from another, so I don’t know why I said that.
I had four things going against me at school – I was tall and skinny; I had glasses; I was very quiet and I was a pacifist. So I stood out from the crowd and was a natural target. It was the natural order of things so I didn’t complain. That was just the way things were.
As for my favourite classical composer? I don’t know. I like Mozart and I like Beethoven. I like Vivaldi and I like Handel. But there are pieces they wrote that I don’t like so much. I go for the song, not the singer.
If I had to bring just two tracks to a desert island I would probably go for Vidor’s Toccata & Fugue in D Minor, or Adiemus by Karl Jenkins.
And if you don’t like that answer, you can beat me up if you like.
I don’t care.